Physics is the most fundamental of all sciences. It observes and explores the physical laws and principles that govern the nature of the universe and is stimulating and inspiring.
On this course, you'll develop thorough knowledge and understanding of the theoretical basis of modern physics, with particular focus on the mathematical aspects. You can explore advanced topics in physics that relate to our research strengths - from cosmology to quantum information. You'll develop a solid grounding in how mathematical methods are applied to physics topics.
On this course you'll get involved in real research via several routes, such as through our group industrial project module and your final year research project. We offer all students the chance to apply to do a summer research placement, where you'll work with our researchers and be paid a salary. As well as advancing you as a physicist, these opportunities allow you to develop transferable skills that can help you achieve your aspirations.
Enhancing your degree
This course offers you the opportunity to spend a year working in industry or studying at a university abroad, both of which provide valuable experience and help your personal development. A study abroad year replaces a year of your degree, whilst undertaking an industrial placement year adds an additional year to the course length.
Our industrial placement scheme gives you the opportunity to gain work experience in an industry relevant to your degree and interests. Our students often describe this industrial experience as an invaluable part of their degree and one which stands them in good stead for their future careers.
The study abroad year enables you to gain insight into the study of physics at one of our partner universities overseas. Many students have found this to be extremely worthwhile in helping broaden their horizons in terms of learning about a new culture and improving their foreign language skills.
It is possible to transfer to the 3 year BSc course up until the end of your second year.
This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics.
Throughout the first two years of your degree, you'll study core physics topics, including quantum physics, relativity, and solid state physics. Alongside this, you will explore mathematics topics such as differentiation and integration, vector calculus, and matrices. You'll also have the option to take modules offered by our research groups, such as astrophysics or nanophysics, or even electives from other departments via discovery modules. We expect you to gain an understanding of basic laboratory skills in year one, so that you can gain a better sense of how experimentation and theory work together in physics.
From third year onwards, you can choose advanced options from a wide range of modules in both physics and mathematics. In your final year, you will choose either to extend your understanding of current theoretical physics by carrying out a critical literature review or to gain experience of actual research by undertaking a project. The literature review can deal with cutting-edge topics such as string theory or quantum computing. The research project could be related to the School's research interests in theoretical physics, such as liquid state physics, gauge fields, knots and polymers, biological membranes and quantum information.
When you finish this programme, you'll have a sound knowledge and understanding of the core observations, concepts and quantitative theoretical structures that constitute our contemporary understanding of the physical world, as well as an enhanced interpersonal skillset of problem solving, independent learning, verbal and written communication and presentation skills, all of which will help you to progress into your desired career path.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
Entry requirements, fees and applying
A-level: AAA including physics and mathematics.
We do not accept A-level general studies and/or critical thinking as part of the requirement.
Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.
GCSE: C in English Language
Physics graduates are in demand for some of the highest paid and most satisfying roles in employment. The numerical, analytical and problem solving skills you will develop, as well as your specialist subject knowledge, are highly valued across sectors, including aerospace, electronics, energy, environment, and transport. This course also allows you to develop the transferable skills that employers seek.
One of the key features of this course is the final year research project, an opportunity to work with one of our internationally-recognised research groups. This is an excellent opportunity to develop your independent research skills in addition to your teamwork abilities, which will prepare you for a career in research in both academia and industry. Almost a third of our students progress to PhD study or other postgraduate qualifications.
For further information on career paths and employability please see our careers pages. To read about the careers of School of Physics and Astronomy alumni, see our alumni profiles.
Throughout your degree course we will make sure that you have the support and opportunity to develop the skills and experience you'll need to make the most of your career choices.
Our industrial placement scheme helps you gain valuable work experience that can help you stand out from the crowd. You could also secure a part-time job that you can feature on your CV through the students' union's Joblink.
Our study abroad scheme allows you to experience another culture and develop life skills, which many employers value. The students' union also provides volunteering opportunities which can help you in your personal development.
We teach problem-solving and high level thinking at all stages of your degree. Our programmes provide you with opportunities to develop the core subject knowledge and skills that you need to progress to a career in a particular area of physics and we enable you to get involved with and gain experience of real physics research.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That's one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Study abroad and work placements
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
Spending a year living and studying in another country is a unique experience. Unlike the passing tourist, you have the chance to totally immerse yourself in another culture. You will gain unforgettable experiences and memories that you will draw upon in your working and personal life for years to come. In addition to this, the proven ability to live and work in an international context is an asset that many employers actively seek.
On this course, your year abroad adds an additional year to your studies.
During your year abroad, you will study physics at your host institution. Many students find it valuable to undertake an extended practical project during this year that can be presented as part of your assessment for the year.
Students who spend a year in Europe through the ERASMUS programme also receive a maintenance grant for their year away and pay a reduced tuition fee for the year abroad.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.
The industrial placement ('Year in Industry') scheme provides you with the opportunity to experience salaried work before you graduate. Employers actively seek graduates who already have work experience and it can make all the difference in interviews. In addition, the opportunity to work every day with scientists who are experts in their field is an incredible opportunity to enhance your knowledge of physics.
On this course, your industrial placement adds an additional year to your studies.
An industrial placement will boost your self-confidence, not only in your chosen subject area, but in the marketplace generally. You will be able to choose from a range of physics-related organisations in which to work. In previous years, students have worked at many prestigious companies, including:
During your industrial placement you will have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.
If you are not sure right now whether or not an industrial placement is right for you, don't worry - you will not have to start applying for placements until the beginning of your second year.
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